UK set to award Covid-19 testing contracts worth £5bn to private bidders

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Advert says contracts will support UK testing strategy but critics fear move is ‘backdoor’ subsidy

The government is preparing to award coronavirus testing contracts worth an estimated £5bn to commercial bidders, in what critics fear is a “backdoor” subsidy to the private sector.

The vast new budget, which works out at £2.5bn per year and will be managed by Public Health England (PHE), is equal to the entire annual spend on English NHS laboratories.

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